ATTA Advances Conversation on Adventure Guide Qualification and Performance Standards

26 August 2014
Lodge owner Silvio describes the delicate nature of the river flora to visitors. Photo © Cameron L. Martindell /

(SEATTLE) August 26, 2014 – The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA; has spent the past several months researching global adventure guide qualification and performance standards and training programs. The initial findings, presented in a webinar to members of the association, confirm that the industry lacks a global standard for adventure travel guiding.

ATTA’s president, Mr. Shannon Stowell commented, “We view standards as critical to the future of the adventure travel industry's success. As it is growing radically in participation numbers, it's key that the operators expanding and joining the industry be of the best quality."

Dan Moore, CEO of Pandion Consulting & Facilitation and an educator in ATTA’s AdventureEDU program, presented the research in the webinar, noting that guide qualifications and approaches to training are different in every region of the world. The qualifications for working as a professional adventure guide range from a university degree to government program completion to private company certifications. “Why do we need a more universal standard?” asked Moore, “Because the adventure travel sector is growing, because tour operators around the world are demanding it, and because destinations need it to legitimately promote adventure activities.”

Based on this research, the ATTA is proposing an industry-wide conversation on how to best approach reaching a global adventure travel guide qualification standard, based on five “Core Components of Adventure Travel Guide Qualifications”: 1). Technical Knowledge, 2). Medical Training, 3). Customer Service Skills, 4). Natural & Cultural Interpretation Ability, and 5). Sustainability Practices.

The ATTA is asking for feedback on the research conducted thus far. Members of the association are being asked to chime in on the members-only site, called the HUB, where a discussion forum on the topic has been set up. And anyone in the industry can watch the webinar and submit their feedback via email to [email protected].

Attendees to the Adventure Travel World Summit in Ireland this fall will have the opportunity to discuss the issue in person. The discussion will be further fueled by a Guide Exchange happening prior to the Summit. Adventure travel guides from Namibia will visit Ireland and participate with Irish adventure guide colleagues in a training program. The program will include a discussion of the proposed five “Core Components of Adventure Travel Guide Qualification”. Dan Moore will lead those discussions and gather the guides’ insight and perspective from years of working in the field leading adventure travel trips.

After the comment window is closed post Summit, the ATTA will work with global partners to fund the future implementation of a global adventure travel guide qualification standard, possibly collaborating with existing training programs.

About Adventure Travel Trade Association
Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves over 1,000 members in 90 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism. The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism.

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